Hey guys, it's one week after my article was published, and this response has appeared in the letters to the editor. I disagree with a lot of what this person said, even though I only consider myself 80% asexual in the first place. [What bothers me most is that this person seems to think we SHOULD want sex, when we're really okay without it, if not better off!]
What are your responses to it?
Coming out of the garden: Beliefs Rooted in denial.
In last week’s “Letters to the Editor” section, I came across a rather interesting submission that I’m sure many of you had the pleasure of reading. It was entitled “Asexuality: It’s not just for plants”. This article was eye-catching for a variety of different reasons, and seeing as I was looking for a challenge, I decided to take this one on. When reading this article, I tried my best to be open-minded. Different forms of sexuality have always interested me, and I myself, teetering on the edge of heterosexuality, was open to the opportunity of learning something new. But, as per-usual, I can never just accept what I see at face value, I almost always have to challenge it.
So, to begin my rebuttal of the presented asexual arguments, I think it is important to define the word sexuality. Contrary to popular belief it is not just the physical acts of sex. Sexuality is what makes people emotionally and physically charged beings. Sexuality is not simply the physical lust felt between two individuals. It is how we express ourselves to the rest of the world through our bodies and our minds. From this definition alone, you can guess the angle of approach I am taking for this editorial. There is no such thing as asexuality as a sexual orientation. Easy now, I realize that several red flags just popped up all over the place, so let me elaborate.
Scientifically, asexuality is defined as a lack of sex drive (as opposed to the botanical definition which usually refers to plants that fertilize themselves, not plants who refuse to have sex with other plants). In the medical community, this is viewed as a sexual dysfunction. A low or non-existent sex drive can be attributed to many different physical malfunctions in the human body. In both men and woman it can be caused by low levels of testosterone. In both sexes, a low libido can be due to a lack of nerve stimulation in the brain. Insufficient production of Nitric Oxide in the blood can make arousal difficult, as it is accredited with vasodilatation and erectile functions. There are relatively simple ways to fix these disorders, the most common forms of medical relief being testosterone injections, and, more recently, Yohimbine dosages. For the more holistic individual, there is also a variety of herbal remedies. L-Arginine and Gingko Biloba (I’m not making this stuff up) are both entirely natural herbal therapies that have been shown to increase Nitric Oxide in the blood and aid in brain nerve stimulation.
Besides hormonal deficiencies, there are a variety of psychological roots that can lead to what may be referred to as asexuality (a general disinterest in sex). These include early sexual abuse, troubled relationships, spousal abuse and other forms of psychological trauma. Like any other form of mental distress, these are serious and can have damaging mental consequences if they are not addressed and dealt with. Dr. R. Taylor Segraves of Case Western University School of Medicine in Cleveland did a study on what he coined “Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder” which is brought on by psychological traumas. Just as sex addictions are a problem, so are the inabilities to embrace one’s sexuality.
But all of this mumbo-jumbo may mean very little to the non-biology buffs out there. However, the point I am beating to death is very simple. The difference between bi-, homo-, and heterosexuality is that there isn’t any cure, hormonal, therapeutic or otherwise. Asexuality however, can be “cured” (excuse the lack of sensitivity in my word choice); there are ways for people who are clinically diagnosed as Asexual to become physically attracted to other people. If change is an option and Asexuality is a choice, then it is not an orientation.
Now, I am not saying that abstaining from sex is wrong, after all abstinence is the most foolproof form of birth control out there. Nor am I denying that platonic relationships can be just as fulfilling as very physical ones. However, there were a few statements made in the article that I couldn’t quite get my mind around. For example, “We are following a generation that felt obligated to have sex after marriage.” Umm, yes? I don’t think that just applied to our parents’ generation. Had sex after marriage not been the cultural norm for every society in every generation since the beginning of time, none of us would be here today – unless you can think of a more profound asexual way of reproducing (but back in the day I am pretty sure they didn’t have test tubes or turkey baisters). Or my personal favourite: “Asexuality does not necessarily mean that a person lacks sex drive.” Now, there are three definitions of asexuality that I was able to find and they are as follows: A - Having no evident sex or sex organs; sexless. (Now, I don’t think that one applies.) B - Relating to, produced by, or involving reproduction that occurs without the union of male and female gametes, as in binary fission or budding. (Although people may say that they are “coming out of the garden”, I’m almost certain that they are not reproducing via binary fission.) Finally C - Lacking interest in or desire for sex. Those being the options, I am fairly certain that the original statement is false. What those people are experiencing must be something very different from asexuality.
I guess what I am trying to get across (without looking completely and utterly promiscuous) is that sexuality is important to a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual development. If you are unsure or confused about your sexuality, confront it. Don’t hide behind a fictional orientation. Sigmund Freud said it most accurately, “the only wrong kind of sex, is none at all.” So instead of using the term Asexual as a scapegoat, examine yourself more closely and determine what it is exactly that sexuality means to you.
- response to article